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Archive for March, 2010

15 But God will redeem my life  from the grave;
he will surely take me to himself.
Selah.

I am aware of the spiritual significance of this week in my own life.  I call this Passion Week…tracing the life of Christ from his entrance into Jerusalem, his accusation and trials, his beatings, his death, burial and his resurrection.  It is a special week for those of us who long to never forget.  I get used to the story.  I hear it until it is real in my own experience, however, if I am not careful that story will sit in the shadows and listen to all the other stories of my life.  I wonder how many people take the story of the resurrection out of the shadows once per year, dust it off wiping it clean, look at it, dress up real good to celebrate the truth of the resurrection only to put it back in the shadows once the sermon is over on this coming Sunday.

Yesterday I had the chance to stop by Waters Powell Funeral Home and pay my respects to the late “Chuck” Lee and his family…a young man who had been coming to Southside off and on for about a year.  He was 44 and died in an automobile accident.  I was standing by the casket looking at his lifeless body and remembering that my entire life hinges on the truth in the verse that for this morning.  I have banked my whole life on the truth that God will redeem my life from the grave…he will surely take me to himself…Selah (Think about that!).  Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  Because He has conquered the grave all fear of death is gone.  Because I know Who holds tomorrow and life is worth the living right now because HE lives.

My friend, Fred Kosin writes in his monthly note  “Dear Fellow Partakers of the Resurrection, …What a glorious opportunity to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ every day of our lives. It is our privilege as well as our responsibility since all the blessings of our Salvation rest on the risen Christ. Of course we are glad that the “world celebrates” it once a year. This season of the year gives a wonderful opportunity to ask about the spiritual state of folk we meet. This week ask someone “What does the resurrection of Christ mean to you?” Then tell them from I Corinthians 15 what it means to you and how could have an equal share if they believe is an awesome message.  We also are enjoying the spring like weather we have been having. It is hard to realize that the seemingly dead trees and bushes really are alive. God affords us the illustration of resurrection in every plant and seed around us. We do have many friends in the southern hemisphere that are headed into winter and lack the correlation of Easter and spring celebrated together. The foundation of the gospel is illustrated in every plant is motivation enough to share the message of Christ’s resurrection with others at this time of year…”

Because of the faith I have in Christ’s Life and message, I have risked it all.  I place my entire past, present, and future in the hands of Him who conquered death.  He alone dealt with the grave.  I know of no other “religious leader” – ever – who has promised some sort of livable truth who is ALIVE!  The only ONE is Jesus Christ.  He truly lived.  That is historically provable.  He died.  He was buried.  And according to solid evidence now lives.  He conquered the grave.  When you find someone who was dead and is now alive, they are dangerous people because they do not fear a single thing.  Death no longer bothers them.  Christ conquered the grave.  Sin’s power is broken.  The enemy is a lie.  We can live again.  I am now living and will one day because of the promise of this verse…I will find that God will redeem my life from the grave and he will take me to himself.  This is a truth that we should celebrate every day!

One of these days someone will gather around my casket…I remember that because He Live – I live…Because He conquered death and I have aligned myself by faith with HIM, I too will be able to be taken to be with him.  When it is my time to go, He, Jesus, will meet me there and get me home!

Amazing Love - Because you died and rose again!

No More Night - Living in the Light of the Risen Lamb!

Then Came The Morning!

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3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

She is not in her place.  I opened the door to the house and it is dark and quiet.  Normally at this time of the morning Nancy has already prepared for the day and is preparing to leave for work.  Normally, lights are on and you can hear water running and feet scurrying around.  The normal silence of the morning is broken.  I went to the curb this morning as I always do to pick up the morning paper and carry it inside.  The coffee pot is still cold and the house is silent.  It is amazing how accustomed one gets to the surroundings.  You get so used to them you don’t pay them any attention….until they are gone.  Kimberly was excited as she packed preparing to join Nancy and Debbie for their “Spring Break” tour of the mountains.  They will hike today on several of the many trails that surround the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge area.

For some reason I want to read the story again for the very first time.  I am afraid I get accustomed to the story and forget it is there in its raw truth.  I tell the story often.  I have gotten accustomed to it.  I let it get that way because it is no ‘old’ story – only one I need to remove the dust and shake it again for my own edification.  This story cannot get old.  I take great liberty with the words – but find great peace in the spirit of it… I read it like this:  “…: that Christ died for ‘Jim’s’ sin according tot he Scriptures, 4that he was buried for Jim, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures for Jim,…”  Christ did that for me.  He died.  His life for my life.  Done all according to the forethought of God our Father.  He had to be dead for they buried him.  Two women went to cover his dead body with perfume.  You only bury dead things.  Miracles of all miracles – he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures…  I am reminded that if God says something in the Word of God it is truth…according to the Scriptures.  What I base my faith upon is of vital importance.  It could have said that he died according to my opinion.  It could have said he died according to a CNN poll taken in Washington DC.  It could have said that a bunch of fellows got together in Hollywood and thought this plot up.  Nope, it was all according to the Scriptures.  The definitive nature of the truth revealed in the reliable Word of God gives me hope today.

Our Jewish Friends are remember their bitter days of life in Egypt and the events that surround the leaving of Egypt.  This morning I am reminded of these days when Christ – the passover lamb – the spotless Lamb of God – stepped up to the task of dying in my place.

I don’t want to get accustomed to it.

Brad Paisley and Sara Evans - New Again

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8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.

9 I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

The context of this passage is the atmosphere and results of someone lying about David.  These lies have caused great harm in his family.  In the midst of it all he celebrates the fact that he is established like an olive tree – fruitful – and flourishing – even though some want him dead.  He celebrates the fact that God’s unfailing love is around him.  I am consistently amazed at God’s care.  He is amazing.  Gideon saw that as he met the Lord Jesus preparing him to deliver the nation of Israel from the Midianites.  God was the one that cared for him.  I have a Father that cares for me.

He has watched over the healing of my voice.  He has provided medicines and physicians to review and care for me during this time.  He has given and wonderful church who is patient as my voice heals.  He has provided encouragement and rest during it all.  I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God.

It is Monday.  It is raining and the pollen is washing down the water drains of our city.  I am smiling.   I worship God this morning for His goodness!  His name is good.  I will hope in Christ.

Unfailing Love - Chris Tomlin

Faithful One by Selah

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Psalm 39:4 “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.

I don’t know what rattled his cage.  My initial response to seeing David – King David – was a man of confidence and assurance – one who would sit on the throne and rule with wisdom and strength.  I find it interesting when I read of King David who is in a quandary.  Even King David gets caught struggling.  Maybe it could be someone who is after him.  His good friend could have died.  He had faced some event in his life when he is pondering his own mortality.

I am 54.  Great revelation, huh?  My dad died at 74 years of age.  If I live as long as he, then I have more behind me than in front of me.  He hurried his days along with greasy hamburgers and sloppy eating,  smoking 5000 cigarettes a day, emphysema, along with the damage tuberculosis added to the mix.  It caught up with him when he was 74.  I am a week away from the 11th anniversary of his death and it came to mind this morning.  We all think we are going to live forever.  For some strange reason, the anniversary of his death causes me to consider what is going on in my life.

I love people.  I love making people happy.  I have spent my life in a ministry that causes me to consider how I can help people.  It brings me great pleasure.  There are days where I need to get away and review my life.  This week has been one that has been consumed in a passage of Scripture in 2 Corinthians 5:9 “…therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to HIM!”  An ambition – the hunger of my life – to please only HIM…with my thought life, my physical life, my attitude, morally, spiritually – I mean in every way.  Being sick and having to be quiet has caused me to think deeply…and that is a good thing.  I belong ONLY to HIM!  Since life is short one would be wise to spend what precious time left doing what pleases HIM alone!

This has been an interesting week for me.  I am getting better physically.  I am reminded that life is precious.  I remember a crisis some years ago where I made some major re-directives in my own life.  I sat down and figured for myself what my priorities in my life really were and where I wanted them to be.  I remember getting to the place where I finally decided that if God was who he says he was, then I was going to have a relationship with him that was real and personal.  I have found that single decision to be absolutely pivotal.  The entire of my life flows from my relationship with Him and the single focus of my own life.  Secondly, I never will forget the day I decided as an act of my own free will to make Nancy second place in my life.  I wish I could say she has been there all the time.  I will have to be honest and say that my preaching and practice did not match here.  She will never be number one, but with God’s help and my determination she will never be number three.  It was during this crisis time that I learned that my children had real names –  Jason, Jeremy, and Kimberly.  Of course add to that truth that Jennifer has become part of our world and she is carrying our first grandchild.  Putting priority focus on their lives as the leader of this home committing to pray for and support them has been a radical shift in my life.  The 8th thing on my list was “work”.  I do what I do so I can take care of the first 7 things on the list.  I used to worship my “work”.  I love what I do.  Add a mom and brother to the list and a need to maintain friendships that are deeply meaningful and you can see where the world can get crazy.

Show me, O LORD, my life’s end -and the number of my days…it is fleeting – this thing I call life.

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Sidebar:  Today I am on the way to the doctor’s office.  For the past four weeks I have suffered (this year more than ever…I don’t ever remember being this sick for this long)with the loss of my voice and some kind of medical issues that affects my breathing.  I see a pulmonologist today – one of those doctor types that specializes in lung stuff.  I will see an Ear Nose and Throat specialist not long from now but for starters this is my first shot today.  I appreciate those of you who are praying for me…keep it up.  I am getting better.

Joshua 20:2 “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, 3 so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.

I am thankful that God in his grace provided a place for those who need His grace.  A place of refuge.  I will admit to you, Father, that it is so easy to talk about all those old bad people who have chosen as an act of their own free will to kill someone.  It is easy to find time to discuss those poor souls who have walked through the unfortunate place of accidentally killing someone…and to see them running to the city of refuge, I still disconnect from all that.  However,  to be reminded this morning that no matter how religious I may appear that I need a city of refuge still takes my breath away.  Here we are at the beginnings of the passion week.  Here I am reminded that Jesus became my City of Refuge…and long before you told Joshua to prepare six cities for those in need you had already planned to send the Savior to the cross and provide me a city as well.

18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (Heb 6:18-20). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.\

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (Ro 5:9). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (Ro 8:1). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (Jn 6:36-37). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

I am sitting here blown away that I have a City of Refuge.  Oh, dear God, help me today to live gratefully that I have been forgiven, cleansed, and called your child.  I run to you!

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10 In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,

11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions.

The Lord does care for his children.  I have been in a desert land in these 54 brief years of my own life.  I have been in a barren place with my spirit feeling like a howling waste.  I would like to say that I never get there at all, I have and I do.  He shields me and cares for me.  He calls me the apple of his eye.  The apple of the eye is an old English expression referring to the pupil of the eye. This phrase is used symbolically of something cherished, precious, and protected.

My Heavenly Father Watches Over Me

Brookland Tab He Will Not Slumber or Sleep

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Sidebar:  This time change thing is a killer!  My biological clock is set for one thing and then someone thunk up this rather ignorant thing called time change.  I am completely lost.  I think after a few days I will re-set my inner clock.  Quiet Time is in the morning.  May the person that thought daylight savings time up be smitten with hives!  OK, I’ll be spiritual, a mild case of the hives.  A long hair on the end of the wart that would be on their nose would be appropriate.

20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Moses is an old man.  I am of the opinion that when an old man speaks it would help to listen to him.  He tells the Nation of Israel what God has put on his heart.  It is eaten up with learning to listen to the Lord God, obeying what He says…that kind of thing.

Ten years from now I will be 64.  I have been at this since I was 17.  I want to spend the next ten years doing things that leave a legacy and make a difference.  I guess I have gotten to old to spend my time dilly dallying around with things that don’t matter at all.  I don’t care about the color of the carpet or the lights in the men’s bathroom at church.  I am not a bit interested in a new program.  I am interested in what makes a difference in life.

One of those focus areas is to develop in my own life a personal discipline that allows me to have a daily conversation with the Lord.  I am convinced that it has something to do with the Bible and with prayer.  I am a bit weary of the devotional books that do all the thinking for you and am more interested in reading the Word of God.  I want to walk around with Moses, David, Paul and the Corinthian Church today.  I hear all the Rick Warren, Charles Stanley, and Swindol that I can stand.  I want to read the Bible.  I want to hear HIM speak to ME…  It is the way that I love the LORD your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to HIM.  HE is my life.  He IS my life.  He is MY life.  He is my LIFE!  I am convinced that I have put way to much emphasis on other books and commentaries and need to focus my attention on what the Book says to me.  That takes time.  That takes daily time.  That takes daily time with HIM.  That takes daily time with Him that is focused on loving, listening, and holding fast to him.  Help me, Father to learn to do that right!

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